Monday, July 3, 2017
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12(NLT)
One of the troubles with being very unfamiliar with the Word of God, (especially during a crisis), is that we can stretch God’s book to fit what we want, rather than understand what God is really saying.
I heard the story about a man who had never even opened a Bible, but had heard God will lead you if you read the Scriptures. He didn’t know where to start, so he just looked Heavenward and asked: God, if you’re up there, show me the way to do what I should. With that he flipped the pages open and looked at the first verse his eyes landed on:
Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. Matthew 27:5(NLT)
Well…that seemed rather harsh, so he tried one more time, fanning the pages like an open deck of cards; this time his eyes fell on the last part of Luke 10:37:
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”(NLT)
The man decided the Bible was not for him!
Now, while that’s silly, I’ve known some people to take that kind of approach, although it’s much more sophisticated…and full of unbelief. It’s where you ask God for something in prayer that’s filled with “thees”, “thous”, and “wherefores” – and, when it doesn’t happen to your satisfaction, you conclude God doesn’t answer your prayers.
Besides being silly and unbelieving, it’s also not very honest to go into prayer knowing that if you don’t get what you want you’ll bail on the idea that God ever listens…or worse, that He even exists at all. But if you honestly believe in God at all, the asking part of prayer presupposes that God can give an answer as He deems is best for you. Isn’t that why Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane about his impending ordeal:
My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. Matthew 26:39(NLT)
Praying in accordance with God’s will should be the goal of every believer and follower of Jesus Christ. But you cannot know that will unless you’re willing to spend time getting to know Him. That means studying His Word…not just flipping it open and hoping for the best every time a crisis appears on the horizon.
If that method of “discipleship” had any merit, I would have been quite disturbed when this morning’s text showed up:
Make it your goal to live a quiet life… 1 Thessalonians 4:11a (NLT)
After all, I just called the doctor’s office about what time to show up Monday for surgery on my vocal cords!
The Bible is not a magic book; rather it is a love letter, expressing God’s will and way for our lives so we can learn how to come close to Him.